Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Learn to Code Notes : Udacity iOS Development Nanodegree Q&A

Detailed notes from the Udacity iOS Development iOS Nanodegree Q&A live cast on Google Hangout

Summary: these are my notes from the Udacity iOS Development iOS Nanodegree Q&A today 2/25/15. The Udacity team hosted this live listen-mode Google Hangout to answer a selection of user submitted questions regarding the program. This program is special that it is one of the nanodegrees that Udacity is offering for the very first time. Students will become the meaningful first cohort of this inaugural program. Students will get instructions, and professional help to complete a portfolio of projects, gain a sense of community with peers around the world, able to provide feedback and influence future programs to certain extend.

This program however is not geared towards beginners who are just learning to code. It will require some prior learning experiences and even software engineering experiences (students who completed Udacity courses on Intro to Computer Science, OOP programming, intro to Python, JavaScript Basics, may be able to successfully complete the program).

For complete beginners, learning iOS programming as the first step to full stack development can be difficult. Currently there aren't easy programs to get started (unlike Ruby on Rails which has a great pipeline of learning and teaching tools). If you have any suggestions, please comment below. Would love to know.

Projects, Apps, Assignments

  • 5 Apps including an open-ended capstone project in the end
  • The apps are deadline driven, the first one is due one month after the program starts
  • Projects are the only true requirements of the program
  • The instructor's favorite app is the map app, to get a sense of where the students of the current courses are (address --> reverse geocode to longitude and latitude).
  • The last app, aka the capstone app, is open ended - determined by the students themselves.
  • Projects get "instant" feedback from professional iOS developers with a 24 hr turnaround time (in my opinion this is an amazing value)

Credential of the Nanodegree

On the legitimacy of the credibility and value of the nanodegree, the instructor explains for all developers, the No.1 credential comes from the code portfolio the students will obtain at the end of the course, as a result of their own hard work.  They will gain skills and knowledge regarding the core development components of iOS, which in turn will help them answer to technical questions in the interview. More important than the course content are the apps, projects being built. As the instructor put "the code guarantees the legitimacy", your skills will be "demonstrated by the apps  you build". I would completely agree to prove your development skills: you will need extensive experiences, notable projects, and/or beautiful codes. It's the "street cred" of Silicon Valley. You can have 0 exp, but must have built great things.

You can share on Twitter: 
Prove #code skills w/ experience projects & or beautiful codes the street cred of Silicon Valley. Degrees don't always matter. #learntocode


  • See below for press coverage

A Smart Way to Skip College in Pursuit of a Job  Udacity-AT&T ‘NanoDegree’ Offers an Entry-Level Approach to College (Source: New York Times)



  • Course Page
  • $200/Month
  • Enrollment opens on March 4, lasts for a week. 
  • Expect a minimum of 10 hr/week in terms of workload
  • Expect to spend 6-9 months to finish (est. cost $1200 - $1800)
  • Minimum enrollment of 2 months to graduate (i.e. $400 dollars+), i.e. the fastest students can be enrolled for 2 months and claim completion upon finishing the projects
  • Projects are the only true requirements of the program
  • Read more about NanoDegrees on the Udacity blog
  • Learn about other Nanodegrees by Udacity

Technical Requirements / Notes

  • No need for an iPhone / iPad device (if available phone constraints of layouts can be more interesting compared to iPads)
    • The Apple development program has a simulator
  • Need a newer operating system OS 10 Mavericks or above
  • No need for the latest Mac
  • More granular requirements


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